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From Watson’s Tin Box – The Stockbroker’s Clerk

From Watson’s Tin Box – The Stockbroker’s Clerk

“Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch-box with my name, John H. Watson, MD, Late Indian Army, painted upon the lid.”

– The Problem of Thor Bridge (THOR)

I used to have a billet at Coxon and Woodhouse, of Drapers’ Gardens, but they were let in early in the spring through the Venezuelan loan, as no doubt you remember, and came a nasty cropper. I had been with them five years, and old Coxon gave me a ripping good testimonial when the smash came, but, of course, we clerks were all turned adrift, the twenty-seven of us. I tried here and tried there, but there were lots of other chaps on the same lay as myself, and it was a perfect frost for a long time. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box

Watson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion that meets in Columbia, Maryland, shares a few select items from their tin evidence box for The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk with us here at The Fourth Garrideb. These evidence boxes were originally created by the late Paul Churchill, BSI, one of the founders of Watson’s Tin Box and contains both genuine artifacts and genuine faux reproductions that he (and others) created. These items create a great deal of discussion at their monthly meetings and we hope it will do the same here. Enjoy!

‘At last I saw a vacancy at Mawson and Williams’, the great stockbroking firm in Lombard Street. I dare say EC is not much in your line, but I can tell you that this is about the richest house in London. The advertisement was to be answered by letter only. I sent in my testimonial and application, but without the least hope of getting it. Back came an answer by return saying that if I would appear next Monday I might take over my new duties at once, provided that my appearance was satisfactory. No one knows how these things are worked. Some people say the manager just plunges his hand into the heap and takes the first that comes. Anyhow, it was my innings that time, and I don’t ever wish to feel better pleased. The screw was a pound a week rise, and the duties just about the same as at Coxon’s. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box
And now I come to the queer part of the business. I was in diggings out Hampstead way – 17, Potter’s Terrace, was the address. Well, I was sitting doing a smoke that very evening after I had been promised the appointment, when up came my landlady with a card which had “Arthur Pinner, financial agent,” printed upon it. I had never heard the name before, and could not imagine what he wanted with me, but of course I asked her to show him up. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box
‘”Yes, I read the Stock Exchange List every morning.” ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box


“Not at all, my boy. You have only got your deserts. There are one or two small things – mere formalities – which I must arrange with you. You have a bit of paper beside you there. Kindly write upon it, ‘I am perfectly willing to act as business manager to the Franco-Midland Hardware Company, Limited, at a minimum salary of £500.”‘

“Good! That’s a promise!” said he, rising from his chair. “Well, I am delighted to have got so good a man for my brother. Here is your advance of a hundred pounds, and here is the letter. Make a note of the address, 126B, Corporation Street, and remember that one o’clock tomorrow is your appointment. Good-night, and may you have all the fortune that you deserve.”

WTB STOC Evidence Box

I took my things to an hotel in New Street, and then I made my way to the address which had been given me. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box
‘”And you can come up to-morrow evening at seven, and let me know how you are getting on. Don’t overwork yourself. A couple of hours at Day’s Music-Hall in the evening would do you no harm after your labours.” ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box
Back I went to my hotel, put my head in a basin of cold water, and tried to think it out. Why had he sent me from London to Birmingham, why had he got there before me, and why had he written a letter from himself to himself? It was altogether too much for me, and I could make no sense of it. And then suddenly it struck me that what was dark to me might be very light to Mr Sherlock Holmes. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box
But it was only for a moment that we were at fault. At one corner, the corner nearest the room which we had left, there was a second door. Holmes sprang to it and pulled it open. A coat and waistcoat were lying on the floor, and from a hook behind the door, with his own braces round his neck, was hanging the managing director of the Franco-Midland Hardware Company. His knees were drawn up, his head hung at a dreadful angle to his body, and the clatter of his heels against the door made the noise which had broken in upon our conversation. In an instant I had caught him round the waist and held him up, while Holmes and Pycroft untied the elastic bands which had disappeared between the livid creases of skin. Then we carried him into the other room, where he lay with a slate-coloured face, puffing his purple lips in and out with every breath – a dreadful wreck of all that he had been but five minutes before. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box
Look at this, Watson!’ he cried. ‘It is a London paper, an early edition of the Evening Standard. Here is what we want. Look at the headlines – “Crime in the City. Murder at Mawson and Williams’. Gigantic Attempted Robbery, Capture of the Criminal.” Here, Watson, we are all equally anxious to hear it, so kindly read it aloud to us.’ ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box

It was at once clear that a daring and gigantic robbery had been committed. Nearly a hundred thousand pounds’ worth of American railway bonds, with a large amount of scrip in other mines and companies, were discovered in the bag. ~ WTB STOC Evidence Box

Thanks to the 42nd Garrideb, Denny Dobry, for the scans in this post. Thanks also to Debbie Clark, the 58th Garrideb, the current keeper of the evidence boxes.

Watson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion in Columbia, MD, is one of the most active Sherlockian groups in the Middle Atlantic region, Generally meeting on the last Monday of each month, the meetings feature canonical toasts, good conversations and dining, as well as a discussion of the month’s featured story and an educational presentation. For more information about Watson’s Tin Box, please visit their website HERE.

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